by isaac black

The Washington Post reports that a Harvard survey found that a majority of millennials reject capitalism, with 51% opposed and 42% in favor. The article notes, however, that the term is difficult to pin down. Only 27% “believe government should play a large role in regulating the economy.” Yet almost half indicated that basic human needs are a right that the government should provide.

To me, this sounds like they’re in favor of Scandinavian-style “socialism.” I put the term in scare quotes because very few people, even in those Nordic countries, are advocating the nationalization of the means of production. The millennials in the survey are rejecting the branding of capitalism but not the core principles of private property.

This isn’t revolutionary; it’s just moving the needle. Redistribution is part of capitalism and always has been. Bernie Sanders, while identifying as a democratic socialist, has not rejected capitalism, regardless of how oppositional his label may seem. In fact, the best thing the elites could do at this moment is to placate the increasingly agitated masses by cutting them in. In particular, free college would be a relatively cheap way to win over a dissatisfied generation. But, acceding however little money toward the commons in order  to hang on longterm to their privileged position is probably not on the minds of the elites. The masters of the universe are gamblers, and the volatility that will come from an entire generation saddled with six-figure student debt will not deter their hoarding.